Disclaimer: DBZ characters property of Akira Toriyama.
Some say that Hell is other people. Some say that Hell is yourself. The Hell of Toriyama's universe has attracted no few fanfic writers. This is my second story in this vein. I have been playing around with this idea for a while, and was struck with inspiration sometime after 10 pm. It's almost 1 am now. ^_^
His energy blast was absorbed by the on-coming sphere as though it wasn't even there. It was over.
Energy burned him, searing his skin, piercing him through every pore... he was dying. There was only the hope for vengeance, vengeance he wouldn't live to see... vengeance none of them would live to see.
The Saiyajin were as good as dead.
And he hadn't been able to stop it.
Abruptly the pain was gone. He woke up in the familiar liquid of a restoration chamber, and breathed a sigh as the oddly coloured liquid began draining. He sorted through his memories - he'd been attacked on his last mission. A memory flashed past, something full of fire, but he pushed it aside, not even pausing to consider it.
"Are you all right, Bardock?" The man who approached greeted him.
"Yes," Bardock replied, stepping out of the chamber. "I'm still a little dizzy, though."
He continued speaking as he dressed. "I had a strange dream."
"Yes," Bardock stated.
"What was it?" The man asked.
"Are you sure you're all right?" A second medlab officer asked.
"Of course, I'm not like you," Bardock said, in a tone that was matter-of-fact, rather then rude. "Where are Toma and the others?"
~ Would you listen? ~
"They left for Meatsei on Freeza's orders."
"What? They left without me?" Bardock asked, surprised. Irritation began creeping into his mind.
~ You think you're irritated. ~
"Meatsei... it's not too far away," Bardock continued, now talking to himself. "Okay!" Bardock finished adjusting his scouter then ran out of the medlab, towards the pod docks, ignoring the shout from the medlab officer.
~ Why are you in such a rush? You didn't... ~
The sound of crying stopped him. He gazed in through a clear window at a Saiyajin baby, lying in the nursery.
'Suffer from seeing the future...' The words rang through his mind, followed by a vengeful laugh. Bardock blinked, seeing a planet explode in his mind's eye.
~ Think about it! ~
Bardock shook his head to clear it, then read the name of the baby in front of him.
"Kakarott..," Activating his scouter he scanned the tiny body. "Power level of 2? Damn!"
Refusing to waste anymore time, he turned and started off again for the pod docks, leaving a crying Kakarott behind.
~ I hate this part. Would... ~
Bardock emerged from his pod some time later and gazed around at the planet Meat. "It looks like they stormed right through," He commented to himself.
~ And then died. ~
Bardock shook his head, irritated by that last thought. His scouter beeped. "Oh, there they are," He said firmly, "They're still working hard I see."
~ Did you just... ~
Bardock took off to catch up with his team.
He found them. Dead. Lying strewn about the wreckage as though they were the natives they were supposed to have purged.
~ I told you ~
"What the hell..?" Bardock finally murmured.
"Bardock," A voice called him.
~ Bardock ~
"Toma!" Bardock cried, running to his comrade. "What's going on? What happened?"
"You fool... You could have stayed away," Toma whispered.
~ You fool... You don't have to go through this ~
"Did the people of this planet...?" Bardock started to ask.
"We destroyed them in a second," Toma answered weakly.
"Then who attacked you?" Bardock demanded, incredulous.
~ You are ~
"Freeza!" Toma's voice caught. "He betrayed us!"
"No, it can't be," Bardock stammered, horrified.
~ No, it doesn't have to be. Are you listening yet? Say something to me, anything! ~
"Freeza's been using us all along," Toma spoke. "I'm dying... but I have to tell you this."
~ I have to tell you this! ~
"Freeza plans to kill all of us Saiyajin. You must go back to Vejiitasei and gather our comrades to kill Freeza," Toma continued.
~ Haven't you done this before? ~
"Show him the strength of the Saiyajin people," Toma finished. He smiled at Bardock, then died. Bardock looked at the body of his teammate... and friend... and finally lay him down. Seeing the bandage on Toma's arm, Bardock removed it and cleaned Toma's face.
Standing his gaze roamed over the dead bodies of the other members of his team.
~ Please listen, Bardock! In a few moments you'll get all obsessed again... It's me, Toma! ~
"Toma?" Bardock questioned. Suddenly his scouter beeped. Standing nearby was a group of Freeza's soldiers. The tall leader laughed as he saw Bardock look at him. "Now it's your turn to die," He said, grinning.
~ Bardock! Can you hear me?! ~
"Yes," Bardock whispered.
~ ... Finally! ~
"Who are you? Am I going crazy, hearing voices in my head?"
~ You're trapped, Bardock. I'm trying to show you the way out. ~
"You're not Toma. Your... voice? You sound different."
~ I know, I lied to you. I was trying to get your attention. ~
Bardock looked back over at the group of soldiers. He brought the bandage he held in his hand up and started to tie it around his head.
~ Why are you doing that?! Think about what you're doing! ~
"I'm going to kill them for killing my team," Bardock answered flatly.
~ Please, just wait a minute. ~
"They'll kill me."
~ No they won't! I promise! ~
"Who are you? Why should I trust you?" Bardock eyed the soldiers uneasily. For some reason, they just kept standing there laughing, making no move to attack him.
~ They won't attack until you attack them, because you don't know anything else for them to do. My name is Gohan. ~
"You aren't a Saiyajin!"
~ My name isn't a Saiyajin name, but don't say I'm not Saiyajin until you see me. ~
"Where are you?"
~ I'm standing right in front of you. ~
"No you aren't, those... things are!" Bardock snarled at the soldiers.
~ No, I'm standing in front of you. Those soldiers are an illusion. You're just imagining them. ~
"And the dreams? My visions? Am I imagining them too?"
~ ... sort of. You are and you aren't. You see, you're remembering them. You're remembering all of this. It already happened. That's why those soldiers won't attack you - you only remember yourself starting the fight. Until you start the fight, they won't move - they can't, you don't remember them moving. ~
"... That's stupid. I'm not remembering this, I'm living it."
~ Then why haven't they attacked? ~
Bardock stared at the soldiers. It was true. They had just continued standing there, laughing, while Bardock was speaking out loud to thin air. No jeers about his team's demise, no talking to themselves, no change in position.
~ Turn and walk away. ~
"They killed Toma! And Ceripa! And Panboukin and Totepo!"
~ But you all ready avenged their deaths. If I'm wrong, you can kill me. ~
Bardock shut his eyes. It was so hard to block that damn voice. It got harder... every time? No! What every time? You only lived once, this was happening now! He shouldn't be wasting his time with strange voices, with funny memories... somewhere in the back of his mind he was fighting the soldiers of Freeza, a fight that was almost boring since he knew every move that would be made by all the parties.
"I've got to block it out!"
~ That's not the answer! ~
"I can't listen to you! I won't!"
~ But Bardock, do you want to go on forever, just re-living your memories? Don't you want to at least see your other choices? ~
"I already chose this!" Bardock screamed, putting his hands on either side of his head. He remembered, sitting down on the rock in the middle of nowhere, closing his eyes and replaying the events of his death and the destruction of Vejiitasei over and over in his mind.
~ You got stuck. You forgot you were remembering. It's been a long time. Do you want to see if you're ready to change your mind? ~
"But everyone is dead! I failed, we're dead!" Bardock moved his hands to cover his face, his shoulders slumping in defeat.
~ The Saiyajin were too good at being evil. There had to be a change, or a balance, but with Freeza around, the imbalance was too great to wait for enough good to come along. There had to be a reduction. Every spirit knows how this works deep down in their soul. That's the source of Freeza's fear for the Saiyajin. Deep inside, without his awareness, he knew either he or you had to go. He didn't kill everyone though. Do you remember? ~
Bardock was silent for a while, his hands falling to his sides as he stared past the still laughing soldiers. "Kakarott."
~ Yes! Kakarott! And Radditz, and Nappa, and Prince Vegeta! ~
"There were four that lived? Radditz?"
~ Radditz and Nappa survived for about two decades after Vejiitasei was destroyed. Between Kakarott and Vegeta, Freeza was killed, and King Cold, and the Saiyajin were avenged. You're trapped in the past. ~
Bardock stared at the laughing faces. With a start his body began to tremble, and he felt the most agonizing pain well up inside him. "But it's my fault they died. I should have... could have..."
~ Don't you remember why that alien gave you the ability to see the future? It was his personal vengeance to you. He knew the universe was going to correct the balance of evil, and he and his race had guessed correctly that it would be Freeza who survived. That bit was decided long before the events that set in motion the actual murders. I can tell you, I can show you what happened, but you have to let go and walk away from this. Break the curse of seeing the future and blaming yourself for what you couldn't change. ~
"What do you mean I couldn't change it? What if he'd never given me this gift?! I wouldn't have gone back to Vejiitasei and tried to warn everyone!"
~ Wouldn't you have? Toma just asked you to. You would have. Perhaps you wouldn't have gone up to face Freeza, but it's really moot point. Kakarott and Vegeta would have survived - you would have died. That's all that mattered. No, this is your curse - blaming yourself forever. Living constantly with your guilt. ~
Bardock laughed bitterly. "But I'm in Hell, right? Shouldn't I be miserable or something?"
~ The guilt you should be feeling is different... it's a guilt that you can do something about. I can show you how. Please, just turn and walk away! ~
"Turn and walk away," Bardock repeated, narrowing his eyes as he glared at the soldiers. "No Saiyajin leaves a death unavenged."
~ The universe doesn't either. There are so many things that you're missing! Turn and walk away! Don't do what your memories dictate and you'll wake up! I wanted to meet you - that's why I came here, but I never expected to sit here for centuries trying to get this opportunity to try to convince you to wake up and talk with me. I'm your grandson! Kakarott's son! Don't you want to know about the remnants of the Saiyajin race? Don't you want to know the secrets of everything? The purpose of having lived? What happens next? ~
"I know what happens next. I charge these guys..."
- Finis -
Final Author's Note:
I really like Bardock, he intrigues me, and I love the idea of fanfics where he and/or the Saiyajin as a race get a second change. However, the truth is, the Saiyajin were murderers, and Bardock was one of them. He has redeeming qualities - they shone in the Bardock Special, but everyone has the ability to make themselves a better person. Some people just don't have the desire. Gohan's a caring person, perhaps he'll come back and try again sometime.
I love comments! Please tell me if you liked it, or if you didn't, and why!